Unmodern Observations (Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen)

Unmodern Observations (Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen)

William Arrowsmith General Editor
Copyright Date: 1990
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 424
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  • Book Info
    Unmodern Observations (Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen)
    Book Description:

    This translation of Nietzsche's earlyUnzeitgemässe Betrachtungenconsists of four long essays and notes for a fifth. Nietzsche planned these works as part of an extremely ambitious critique of German culture. Although the project was never completed, the essays thematically linked and should be considered as a whole. This book, which presents these important works together in English for the first time, unifies the essays, provides introductions and annotations to each, and translates them in a way that does justice to the brilliance and versatility of Nietzsche's style.

    The dominant idea of Nietzsche's project is the regeneration of culture through a radical reshaping of modern educational institutions. Nietzsche believed that philosophy, the arts, and the ennobling study of antiquity had all been corrupted by systematic miseducation, the work of so-called educators, who, as culture-philistines, had disgraced the highest of vocations. In response to this fragmented modern world, Nietasche argues for the creation of a"manworthy" culture with a single uniftying style-a style that integrated theology, philosophy, education, classical scholarship, journalism, and art in a seamless, dynamic whole. This style, Nietzsche contends, can best be realized by heeding the great creative examples of the pre-Socratic philosophers, Schopenhauer, and Wagner, and by reforming education, above all the study of history and the archaic culture of Greece, so that it serves, rather than obstructs, the needs of human life.

    The essays includeDavid Strauss: Writer and Confessor, introduced and translated by Herbert Golder;History in the Service and Disservice of Life, introduced by Werner Dannhauser and translated by Gary Brown;Schopenhauer as Educator, introduced by Richard Schacht and translated by William Arrowsmith;Richard Wagner in Bayreuth,introduced and translated by Gary Brown; andWe Classicists, introduced and translated by William Arrowsmith.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16185-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations of Nietzsche’s Works
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xx)
    William Arrowsmith

    Nietzsche chose his tides with scrupulous care, and these programmatic essays untranslatably entitledUnzeitgemässe Betrachtungenare no exception.Unzeitgemässebecause they contain an explicit disavowal of theZeit,the age, above all the present,now.They are not untimely, which means inopportune, nor unseasonable, nor out of season, which means little more than untimely.Unfashionable,uncontemporary, indeed defiantlyunmodern, they are not therefore reactionary or merely antimodern. They aim at transcending the present, at superseding conventional notions of past, present, and future. If Nietzsche repeatedly invokes classical antiquity, he does so not in order to advocate return to an idealized...

  5. David Strauss: Writer and Confessor
    (pp. 1-72)

    In the spring of 1873, four months before the publication of his essay on David Strauss, Nietzsche was hard at work on a study of the, pre-Socratic philosophers. This book,Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks,never completed, was not a study of philosophical doctrines as such, but a series of intellectual portraits—portraits of men “who lived uniquely in magnificent solitude for knowledge alone” (PTAG,1.301). In terming sixth- and fifth-century Greece “tragic,” Nietzsche argued that ancient Greece had possessed a profound and genuine culture—a tragic one, since such a culture, like a tragic vision, sought...

  6. History in the Service and Disservice of Life
    (pp. 73-146)

    The young Nietzsche described the philosopher as a physician of culture, and his own thought can be understood both as a diagnosis of the crisis or sickness of his time, the nineteenth century, and the quest for a cure. In his first published book,The Birth of Tragedy(1872), Nietzsche placed his hopes for the rejuvenation of Germany—and ultimately the world—in the music of Richard Wagner. He sustained that enthusiasm through one of the “unmodern observations” or “thoughts out of season,” but thereafter disillusion ensued: he repudiated Wagner and abandoned the possibility of a German cultural revival. With...

  7. Schopenhauer as Educator
    (pp. 147-226)

    Among Nietzsche’s writings, there is perhaps no better introduction to his thought thanSchopenhauer as Educator(1874). Written when he was still a young professor of classical philology at Basel, just beginning to discover his own voice and philosophical calling, it reveals many of the fundamental concerns and convictions that animate later works. It is a remarkable essay. Though flawed by lack of philosophical sophistication and romantic tendencies of thought and expression that Nietzsche had not yet learned to check, it presents an astute, often eloquent discussion of a broad range of intellectual, cultural, and social issues, and calls powerfully...

  8. Richard Wagner in Bayreuth
    (pp. 227-304)

    Hardly a month after the publication ofRichard Wagner in Bayreuthin July 1876, Nietzsche had recovered sufficiently from illness and strain to attend the festival and composer in whose honor the present essay was written. His correspondence reveals joyful anticipation; what he actually experienced at Bayreuth was shock and disillusionment. The performances were disastrous, the costumes ludicrous, the voices unnatural and overwrought. Petty squabbles backstage, the patrons’ conceit, boredom, and unmusicality, and the superficiality of the spectators, interested more in fashion than in art, merely enhanced the carnival atmosphere. Nietzsche, who had ardently envisaged something very different, witnessed the...

  9. We Classicists
    (pp. 305-388)

    Classicists often prefer to forget that Nietzsche was for ten years a classicist himself. And if they remember, they like to think that he became a philosopher because he was a failure as a philologist, or that Wilamowitz’s attack onThe Birth of Tragedyso crushed Nietzsche that he threw up his professorship in despair and spite. These, of course, are transparent superstitions, designed to cut Nietzsche down to professorial size or render harmless by ridicule the most radical critique of classical scholarship ever made from within the profession. But mostly Nietzsche has been ignored—or, as one classicist puts...

  10. About the Contributors
    (pp. 389-390)
  11. Index
    (pp. 391-402)